Neanderthals in Europe were killed off by the advance of modern humans thousands of years earlier than previously believed, losing a competition for food and shelter, according to a scientific study published Wednesday. The research uses advances in radiocarbon dating to revise understanding of early humans, suggesting they colonized Europe more rapidly and coexisted for a much shorter period with genetic ancestors. Paul Mellars, professor of prehistory and human evolution at the University of Cambridge and author of the study, said Neanderthals – the species of the Homo genus that lived in Europe and western Asia from around 230,000 years ago to around 29,000 years ago – succumbed much more readily to competition. ‘The two sides were competing for the same territories, the same animals and fuel supplies and occupying the same cave spaces. With that kind of competition, the Neanderthals were always going to come out as the losers,’ said Mellars, whose paper was published in the journal Nature. Modern humans – those anatomically the same as people today – were also better equipped to deal with a 6 degree Celsius (11 Fahrenheit) fall in temperatures around 40,000 years ago. ‘Because they had better […]

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